EXCAVATION, TRENCHING, AND BACKFILLING FOR UTILITIES
PART 1 - GENERAL
1. Work Included: Excavation and preparation of trenches as shown on the plans and specified
herein, backfilling and site restoration.
2. Related Sections: Additional Sections of the Documents which are referenced in this Section
1) Section 02200 - Site Preparation
2) Section 02300 - Earthwork
1. General: The work shall comply with the most recent standards or tentative standards as
published at the date of the contract and as listed in this specification using the abbreviation
2. American Society for Testing and Materials Publications (ASTM):
1) D 698 Test Method for Laboratory Compaction Characteristics
of Soils Using Standard Effort (12,400 ft-lbf/ft)
2) D 1556 Standard Test Method for Density and Unit Weight of
Soil In Place by the Sand-Cone Method
3) D 2167 Standard Test Method for Density and Unit Weight of
Soil In Place by the Rubber Balloon Method
4) D 2487 Standard Classification of Soils for Engineering
Purposes (united Soil Classification System)
5) D 2922 Standard Test Method for Density of Soil and Soil-
Aggregate in Place by Nuclear Methods (Shallow Depth)
6) D 4318 Standard Test Method for Liquid Limit, Plastic Limit, and
Plasticity Index of Soils
3. Virginia Department of Labor and Industry - Occupational Safety and Health Standards for the
1) Subpart P Excavations, Trenching, and Shoring
2) Subpart U Blasting and the Use of Explosives
4. Virginia Department of Transportation - Road and Bridge Specifications (VDOT):
1) 106 Control of Material
2) 312 Seal Coat
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3) 315 Asphalt Concrete Pavement
1. Controlled Fill: Controlled fill is required beneath all areas on which final grade is not placed on
original excavated soil.
2. Classified Excavation: For the purposes of payment, material shall not be classified, except for
those items specifically indicated in the Bid Forms.
3. Trench Rock: For the purposes of classified excavation, trench rock shall be defined as material
encountered in trench excavation that cannot be dislodged by a Caterpillar Model No. 215D-LC
track-type hydraulic excavator, equipped with a 42-inch wide short-tip radius rock bucket, rated at
not less than 120 hp flywheel power with bucket-curling force of not less than 25,000 lbs and
stick-crowd force of not less than 18,000 lbs. Trench rock excavation includes up to 6 inches
over-excavation below the required excavation depth. Rock shall be quantified by measuring the
extent of rock in the trench, not by measuring the volume of removed rock. This definition of
trench rock does not include materials such as hardpan, loose rock, concrete or other materials
that can be removed by means other than drilling and blasting, but which for reasons of economy
in excavating the CONTRACTOR chooses to remove by drilling and blasting.
4. Satisfactory Materials: Materials classified by ASTM D 2487 as GW, GP, GM, GC, SW, SP, SM,
SC, ML, and CL are satisfactory as fill for overlot grading and are satisfactory in-situ.
5. Unsatisfactory Materials: Materials classified by ASTM D 2487 as OL, OH, MH, CH, and PT are
unsatisfactory in-situ and as fill. Unsatisfactory materials also include those materials containing
roots and other organic matter, trash, debris, frozen materials, and stones larger than 6 inches.
Unsatisfactory materials also include man-made fills, refuse, or backfills from previous
6. Cohesionless and Cohesive Materials: Cohesive materials include materials classified as GC,
SC, ML, CL, MH, and CH. Cohesionless materials include materials classified in ASTM D 2487
as GW, GP, SW, and SP. Materials classified as GM and SM will be identified as cohesionless
only when the fines have plasticity index of zero.
7. Degree of Compaction: Degree of compaction is a percentage of the maximum density obtained
by the test procedure presented in ASTM D 698, abbreviated below as a percent of laboratory
7. Topsoil: Material obtained from excavations, suitable for topsoils, is defined as the upper layer of
existing soil cover consisting of friable clay loam, free from roots, stones, other undesirable
material and capable of supporting a good growth of grass.
8. Unyielding Material: Unyielding material shall consist of rock and gravelly soils with stones
greater than 18 inches in any dimension.
9. Unstable Material: Unstable material shall consist of materials too wet to properly support the
utility pipe, conduit, or appurtenant structure.
10. Select Granular Material: Select granular material shall consist of well-graded sand, gravel,
crushed stone or crushed slag composed of hard, tough and durable particles, and shall not
contain more than 10 percent by weight of material passing a No. 200 mesh sieve. The
maximum allowable aggregate size shall be 1 inch, or the maximum size recommended by the
pipe manufacturer, whichever is smaller.
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11. Initial Backfill Material: Initial backfill material shall consist of select granular material or
satisfactory materials free from rocks 1 inch or larger in any dimension or free from rocks of such
size as recommended by the pipe manufacturer, whichever is smaller.
1.5 QUALITY ASSURANCE
1. Testing Results: Copies of all laboratory and field test reports shall be submitted to the OWNER
within 72 hours of the completion of the test.
PART 2 - PRODUCTS
2.1 PLASTIC MARKING TAPE
1. General: Plastic marking tape shall be acid and alkali-resistant polyethylene film, 2 inches wide
with minimum thickness of 0.004 inches. Tape shall have a minimum strength of 1750 psi
lengthwise and 1500 psi crosswise. The tape shall be manufactured with integral wires, foil
backing or other means to enable detection by a metal detector when the tape is buried up to 3
feet deep. The tape shall be of a type specifically manufactured for marking and locating
underground utilities. The metallic core of the tape shall be encased in a protective jacket or
provided with other means to protect it from corrosion. Tape color shall be as specified in Table 1
and shall bear a continuous printed inscription describing the specific utility.
Yellow: Gas, Oil, Dangerous Materials
Orange: Telephone, Telegraph, Television, Police, and Fire
Blue: Water Systems
Green: Sewer Systems (including sewer force main)
PART 3 - EXECUTION
1. Classification: Excavation and material shall be unclassified for purposes of payment, except for
those items specfically listed in the Bid Form.
1. General: Only that portion of the work area actually needed for construction shall be cleared
unless directed otherwise by the OWNER. In no case shall clearing or debris from clearing
operations be taken past rights-of-way lines or designated work areas. Areas disturbed by
construction operations shall be protected from erosion by suitable methods outlined in the
Virginia Erosion and Sediment Control Handbook, latest edition.
3.3 EXCAVATION AND PREPARATION OF TRENCH
1. Depth: Depth of trenches shall be as shown on plans and cut sheets except that the trench shall
be excavated to allow for a depth of ¼ of the pipe's outside diameter or a minimum of 4 inches of
ASTM D 448 #68 aggregate bedding in earth and 6 inches of aggregate bedding in rock for
gravity sewer. For force main and water main, excavation for bell holes in firm subgrade shall be
sufficient except in rock where 6 inches of bedding, ASTM D 448 #68 stone, will be required.
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2. Width: Width shall be sufficient to allow pipe installation without walking or standing on pipe. The
trench width at a point 12 inches above the top of the pipe shall not be less than 6 inches not
more than 12 inches on each side of the pipe's largest diameter unless otherwise directed by the
3. Unsuitable Material: Wet or otherwise unsuitable soil at the subgrade shall be removed and
replaced with approved sound materials at no cost to the OWNER, unless specifically indicated
otherwise in the Bid Form. Excess or unsuitable materials shall be disposed of by the
4. Rock Excavation: Ledge rock, boulders, and large stones shall be removed to provide a
clearance of at least 6 inches below and on each side of all pipe, manholes, valves or other
appurtenances and overdepth shall be backfilled with satisfactory material and compacted in
conformance with BACKFILLING subsection.
5. Topsoil: Topsoil shall be stripped from excavation area and stockpiled in approved area until
needed for finish backfill and grading.
6. Trench Protection: The CONTRACTOR shall furnish and erect such sheathing, bracing and
shoring, and shall furnish necessary signs, barricades and temporary lighting as may be pertinent
for the protection of his work, employees, the public, adjacent structures, and to guard against
contingencies which might give rise to delays in the work. Sheathing left in place shall be at the
CONTRACTOR's expense. Where trench wall sloping is necessary for safety or other reasons,
the ENGINEER shall be notified to determine if additional strength pipe will be required.
Responsibility for preservation of trench banks and other excavated spaces and the prevention of
injury to any persons or property shall rest entirely with the CONTRACTOR. A maximum of 200
feet of trench will be allowed open at any one time. Trench construction and safety shall be
governed by the Occupational Safety and Health Standards for the Construction Industry, Subpart
7. Pumping, Bailing, and Draining: The CONTRACTOR shall remove any water which may
accumulate or be found in the trenches or other excavations and shall keep the excavations clear
of water while work is being installed, unless approval to the contrary is granted by the OWNER.
8. Blasting: If permission to blast is granted following a written request, blasting shall be performed
in compliance with The Occupational Safety and Health Standards for the Construction Industry,
Subpart U, The Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code VR 394-01-6, and all amendments or
revisions thereof. Damage of any nature resulting from blasting operations shall be satisfactorily
corrected by the CONTRACTOR at no expense to the OWNER.
9. Cleated Equipment: No cleated equipment shall be used on pavements. Road drainage shall not
be clogged, and shoulders, ditches, roadside drainage facilities and pavement affected by
trenching operations shall be maintained in a condition satisfactory. Entrances shall not be
blocked except for short periods as arranged with the property owner, and ingress and egress to
adjacent property shall be maintained at all times.
3.4 WORK WITHIN ROAD RIGHTS-OF-WAY
1. Traffic Control: Typical traffic control for utility work on road rights-of-way shall comply with VDOT
traffic control details.
2. Erosion and Siltation Control: At all locations VESCH approved methods shall be utilized in
prevention of erosion and siltation.
4. Trenches: No trench within VDOT rights-of-way is to remain open overnight.
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3.5 WASTE AREAS
1. General: Disposal of unsuitable and surplus material shall be carried out in accordance with
VDOT Section 106 and all local requirements. CONTRACTOR shall be responsible for securing
an approved off site disposal area and for restoring the area upon completion of his activities.
1. General: The CONTRACTOR shall notify the property owner in advance of commencing work
and in the event of the necessity of disrupting utility or other services to such property, he shall
notify the OWNER or responsible person in charge of such utility or other services and arrange for
the disruption and restoration of such service in a manner which will result in a minimum of
inconvenience to parties concerned.
1. Materials: All backfill materials shall be free from mud, refuse, construction debris, organic
material, boulders, frozen or otherwise unsuitable material, select initial backfill shall be free from
stones over 1 inch. Remaining backfill may contain stones up to 6 inches in their greatest
dimension, unless otherwise specified. The CONTRACTOR may backfill with the excavated
material, provided it meets the conditions as stated above.
2. Gravity Sewer Bedding: Bedding shall be required on all gravity sewer lines, and shall be in
accordance with Standard Detail TB-1. Bedding material shall extend from the excavated trench
bottom to the pipe springline (midpoint) except on PVC pipe 12 inch diameter or less where it
shall extend to the top of the pipe. Bedding material shall be compacted to 95 percent of
maximum density as measured by ASTM D 698.
3. Pressure Pipe Bedding: Bedding for pressure pipe shall only be required when trench in is rock,
unless shown otherwise on plans, and shall be in accordance with Standard Detail TB-3. Bedding
material shall extend from the excavated trench bottom to the pipe springline (midpoint). Bedding
material shall be compacted to 95 percent of maximum density as measured by ASTM D 698.
4. Backfilling to Grade: Initial backfill shall be with select material and compacted prior to placement
of remaining backfill. Backfilling shall be carried up evenly and shall be compacted to a minimum
of 95 percent density when tested in accordance with ASTM D 698. Each layer of earth shall be
compacted into place by tamping before the next layer is applied. A hydro-hammer shall not be
used for compaction. Care shall be taken to prevent damage to pipe or other structures during
compaction. Damage to pipelines or other structures resulting from compaction shall be corrected
by the CONTRACTOR without expense to the OWNER.
5. Marking of Pipelines: Marking of pipelines shall be required for all non-metallic pressure
pipelines, using a metallic marking tape. Marking of metallic pipelines shall be required in areas
designated on the plans. The marking tape shall be installed along the entire length of the pipe
line in accordance with Standard Detail TB-3.
6. Backfill Testing: The CONTRACTOR shall demonstrate the adequacy of backfill compaction by
performing density testing of the completed trench. Density testing shall be performed at three
depths for each test location: surface, mid-depth, and near maximum trench depth. The
character of the backfill material will be observed during the excavation for density testing to
determine conformance with the specifications. Density testing shall be performed using nuclear
field density equipment or conventional weight-volume methods. If the weight-volume method is
used, volume shall be determined by using the sand replacement test (ASTM D 1556) or liquid
displacement methods (ASTM D 2167). If nuclear methods are used, the trench correction effect
shall be accounted for by recalibrating the nuclear gauge on its calibration block at the location of
each test prior to taking the density measurement. The CONTRACTOR shall furnish all
equipment, tools, and labor to prepare the test site for testing. Testing shall be performed by an
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independent testing laboratory qualified to perform such tests and approved by the OWNER. All
testing shall be witnessed by the Resident Project Representative. The test shall be repeated until
satisfactory results are obtained. The CONTRACTOR shall be charged for all retests at the
normal rates for inspection services.
1) Normal Testing Frequency: One test shall be performed within the first 100 feet of pipe
installed by each crew. This test will be used as an initial evaluation of the compaction
methods being used. Beyond the initial 100 feet, one test shall be performed in each 250
foot section of pipe installed or fraction thereof. Testing shall progress as each 250 foot
section is completed. The location of the test within each section shall be selected by the
Inspector. Testing which indicated that unacceptable material has been incorporated into
the backfill, or that insufficient compaction is being obtained shall be followed by expanded
testing to determine the limits of the unacceptable backfill.
2) Expanded Testing Requirements: If normal testing within a test section indicated
unacceptable backfill, the OWNER may require additional testing within the same test
section to determine the limits of unacceptable backfill. Additional testing required by the
Inspector shall not exceed testing of 4 additional locations within the test section.
Unacceptable backfill within the limits established by the testing shall be removed and
replaced by the CONTRACTOR at no additional cost to the OWNER. Additional testing
beyond that required may be performed by the CONTRACTOR at his expense to further
delineate limits of unacceptable backfill.
3) Additional Testing: Testing beyond the normal frequency or expanded testing required
which is requested by the OWNER, and approved by the OWNER, shall be at the
7. Quality Assurance: The CONTRACTOR will be responsible for and shall repair any settlement in
the backfill or pavement for a period of one year after completion of the work.
3.8 SITE RESTORATION
1. Replacement of Property: The CONTRACTOR shall restore all pavement, sidewalks, curbing,
gutter, fences, poles, culverts, utilities or other such property and surface structures removed or
disturbed as a part of the work to a condition equal to that before the work began.
2. Pavement Repair and Replacement: Pavement, if disturbed, shall be repaired or replaced in
accordance with Section 02700 – Bases, Ballasts, Pavements, and Appurtenances.
3. Drainage Improvements: The CONTRACTOR shall restore and/or repair all drainage ways and
swales including paved or concrete channels as part of this work to a condition equal to that
before the work began. Damaged drainage facilities shall be replaced. Restored ditches and
swales shall provide positive drainage from roadways. Drainage restoration within VDOT rights-
of-way shall be to the satisfaction of the Virginia Department of Transportation.
4. Cleanup: The CONTRACTOR shall at all times keep the site cleaned to the satisfaction of the
Inspector. In all cases, he shall "broom" the surfaces of paved streets immediately following
backfilling. All surplus materials shall be removed and disposed of from the site of the work unless
directed otherwise by the OWNER. Where material is placed on pavement, a layer of stone dust
or sand shall be applied first to facilitate clean-up.
5. Seeding: Shall be in accordance with Section 02921 – Seeding.
END OF SECTION
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